Thursday, 21 March 2013

Barcelona News: Lionel Messi reveals he likes to play Playstation against strangers without them knowing who he is

Teenagers across the world may have been playing a computer game against one of the greatest footballers of all time - without even knowing it.
Lionel Messi has admitted he likes to play football games online without his rivals knowing it is him - and revealed he is prone to getting angry when he loses.
And you wouldn't expect a man who has won a record-breaking four consecutive Ballon d'Or's and is on course to lead his side to La Liga and Champions League glory this season  to admit that he disconnects his internet connection when his opponent get the better of him.
"I love playing PlayStation online with people who don’t know who I am," he said.
“You get messages in English, in Japanese, from any other language.
“Of course I get angry when I lose but I just disconnect and that’s it.”
As part of a Barcelona team considered to be one of the greatest of all time, Messi and his team-mates are known for their knack of retaining possession and frustrating their opponents.
The 25-year-old, who is the face of FIFA 13, says he takes that philosophy over into the virtual world as well, something that can lead to abuse from his rivals.
"I’ve never sent anything bad but a got a couple of messages like that," he revealed.
“When the match is complicated I keep the ball in defence.
“I play from one centre-half to the other and the opponent gets angry. I do it to kill time on the clock.
“I always play with Barcelona and Argentina.”

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Gareth Bale, Robert Lewandowski & Luka Modric have all been linked with moves to Old Trafford

Considering Manchester United are currently top of the Premier League, 15 points clear of second-placed Manchester City with nine games to go, an unprecedented 20th Premier League title looks certain.
With the trophy effectively in the bag, this might be a good time for Sir Alex Ferguson to start thinking about strengthening his squad for the following season.
A plethora of players are being linked with a move to Old Trafford, but from this endless list, there are only a few who have earned Ferguson's admiration and could really bring something extra to the table.

Robert Lewandowski | Borussia Dortmund

The Polish striker has been in devastating form since his move to Borussia Dortmund, scoring 49 league goals in 90 appearances, helping his team win two Bundesliga titles.
It is rumoured that Ferguson almost brought him to United last year, but failed to complete the deal after signing Robin van Persie. Even though United already have a few great strikers, the deal could go through if the rumours surrounding Javier Hernandez prove true.

Gareth Bale | Tottenham

Gareth Bale has been the driving force behind Tottenham’s good run this season, helping the team break into the Premier League top four as well reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
However, the winger has been in fantastic form all season, scoring 16 league goals - putting him third on the top-scorers chart - in 26 appearances.
A perfect combination of strength and pace, Bale would be an asset to any major club. But a reported £70m price-tag would be a hard obstacle for the Red Devils to overcome.

Leighton Baines | Everton

After moving to Everton from Wigan in 2007, the Englishman has evolved into one of the best left-backs in the Premier League.
Not only is he fantastic in performing his defensive duties, but he also knows how to stir things up when he goes forward, often helping his team on the counter-attack.
There’s no doubt the 28-year-old would be a great successor for Patrice Evra.

Marouane Fellaini | Everton

Ferguson has had trouble finding the right player to boost his midfield, but Marouane Fellaini could be the solution.
With Darren Fletcher struggling to overcome illness, Scholes’ advancing years and with the rumours surrounding Anderson, it might be time to bring in someone to take the load off Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley.
Fellaini has been great for Everton this season, scoring 11 goals so far, and could really help the Red Devils when it comes to set-pieces and retaining possession.

Luka Modric | Real Madrid

Another great candidate for the central-midfielder role at Old Trafford is Luka Modric.
The Croatian star has already proved he can cope with the demands of the Premier League thanks to his impressive spell at Tottenham.
Modric currently plays for Real Madrid, but has had trouble adapting to life in the Spanish capital. He has recently hinted he would like to play for the Red Devils, and his amazing passing and playmaking abilities make him a worthy candidate to fill Scholes' shoes.  
Notable mentions:

Cristiano Ronaldo | Real Madrid

There is no doubt every United fan would like the Portuguese star to return to Old Trafford; however, a £55m+ price-tag, as well as high wage demands, make a potential deal unlikely.

Frank Lampard | Chelsea

The fantastic Chelsea player’s advancing years hardly make him a long-term solution, and he has been strongly linked with a move to LA Galaxy.

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia.The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.
Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes wants to join Arsenal and could be set for a transfer this summer.
According to the Daily Star, the Camp Nou ‘keeper has already told Gunners boss Arsene Wenger that he wants to move to north London.
Arsenal are looking for some experienced competition for Wojciech Szczesny, according to the report, and the 31-year-old is keen on being that man.
Valdes told Barcelona earlier this season that he would not be signing an extension to his contract, which expires in the summer of 2014.
The report claims Wenger is mulling over an £8.5million bid for the Spain international as he looks for a more experienced campaigner.
Szczesny was the unquestioned number one at Emirates Stadium up until this week when he was dropped for the Champions League last 16 second leg with Bayern Munich.
Lukasz Fabianski came in for that game at the Allianz Arena and was solid in Arsenal’s 2-0 win, although they ultimately went out on away goals.
Fabianski kept his place for the trip to Swansea City on Saturday to make his first Premier League appearance in two years – another 2-0 win for the Wenger’s side.
However, the report claims Wenger doesn’t see either of them as trustworthy enough to hold the number one jersey at Arsenal.
Should Valdes decide to join Arsenal, he would join compatriots and Spain teammates Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal.

David Beckham shows us his incredible precision and accuracy during a Pepsi commercial, as he puts all the balls into the cylindrical containers kept at least 50 meters away from him. Have a look at his spellbounding skills.

The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) named FC Barcelona the best team of 2012

Messi and Iniesta, were named World's Best Goalscorer and the World's Best Playmaker, respectively
Imagine Lionel Messi's career ended today. How would the magical Argentine rank among football's all-time greats?
On the one hand, Messi has won the Ballon d'Or—awarded yearly to the world's top player—an unprecedented four straight years. At the age of 25, he has already won it all in the club game with Barcelona, from domestic titles to European and international honors.
On the other hand, he's neither won a World Cup nor sustained his dominance for as long as legendary players like Pele or Diego Maradona.
So, again, how would you rank Messi among the game's all-time greats? Is he already up there with Pele, Maradona, Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cruyff? Or does he need to do it all for a little longer?
Bleacher Report World Football Lead Writer Michael Cummings discusses that question in the video above. After you watch, make sure to add your thoughts to the comments below.


The international career of Lionel Messi has not been the smooth affair that his life in club football has been.
There have been a series of ups and downs along the way, with the Argentine nation taking a fair while to take a shine to the Barcelona wunderkind.
That Messi does not perform for Argentina, though, is a myth. Even before his outstanding 2012 calendar year for La Albiceleste, he had been a major player for the side even if the goals had not flown as freely as he'd have hoped.
Next summer in Brazil, he will have the chance to ensure that his career is also remembered for success on the international stage. It will be the only way that he will ever convince some people.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the highs and lows of Messi's international career to date.

2005: Guides Argentina to Under-20 World Cup Win

Just 18 at the time, a young Lionel Messi had turned down the opportunity to represent Spain at youth level in order to remain faithful to the land of his birth. It is a decision that Argentines are no doubt hugely grateful for.
With a handful of first-team appearances to his name, Messi's star was already on the rise. However, to most, he remained a relative unknown.
By the end of the tournament, the entire South American footballing community was certainly aware of his burgeoning talents. Messi finished the event with six goals to his name, including scoring in the final four rounds.
With a Golden Ball and Golden Boot to his name, as well as the World Cup title, the international career of Lionel Messi was well and truly underway.

2005: Sent off on International Debut

Just weeks after his Under-20 World Cup success, in August 2005, Messi was handed his international debut against Hungary in Budapest.
Coming on as a 64th-minute substitute in the friendly encounter, the 18-year-old would last just one minute before seeing his debut cut short by a red card.
Having broken clear from his marker, the young Argentine had his shirt pulled by his opponent and unwisely, rather than maliciously, swung his arm in the direction of his opposite number.
The referee, just a few metres away, was in position to see the incident, and the debutant would see something of a false start to his international career.

Clive Mason/Getty Images

2006: Argentina's Youngest World Cup Player

A year later and it was time for a debut World Cup campaign for Messi, but a campaign that was heavily disrupted by a right thigh muscle tear heading into the tournament.
Appearing as a substitute in Argentina's second group-stage encounter with Serbia and Montenegro, Messi became the country's youngest ever player at a World Cup. Within minutes, he would also become Argentina's youngest ever World Cup goalscorer.
He would go on to start in a 0-0 draw against Netherlands in the final game of the group but would start on the bench for knockout ties with Mexico and Germany.
Of those ties, he would play just the final six minutes of the encounter with El Tri.


2007: Best Young Player at the Copa America

Those who like to say that Lionel Messi has always failed to show up in major tournaments for Argentina clearly missed the 2007 Copa America.
Still one of the youngest players in the tournament, Messi was influential throughout as he struck up a wonderful bond with playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme that saw Argentina cruise to a place in the final.
Contributing towards several goals en route to the final, as well as scoring two of his own in quarter-final and semi-final wins, he was undoubtedly one of Argentina's best performers at the event.
As reward for his efforts, Messi was named the Young Player of the Tournament by CONMEBOL despite a 3-0 defeat to Brazil in the final.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

2008: Olympic Gold Medallist

The 2008 Olympic Games was a memorable tournament for Argentine football, with the side claiming a well-deserved gold medal while also dispatching rivals Brazil 3-0 in the semi-final.
Having initially been barred from playing by club side Barcelona, Messi eventually talked his way into the squad and played a major role in the success.
Once more linking up with the wonderful Riquelme, Messi scored twice in the tournament but made his biggest contribution in assisting Angel di Maria for the only goal of the final.
Still just 20 years old, Messi now had a second major tournament win for Argentina to his name, even if neither had come at senior level.

Getty Images/Getty Images

2009: Wears No. 10 Shirt for First Time

By 2009, Messi was on course to win his first FIFA World Player of the Year crown and had been busy setting the European game alight in helping Barcelona to a famous Champions League success.
It was only now, though, that he could finally lay claim to the Argentina No. 10 shirt that is generally bestowed upon the team's leading playmaker. Until this point, it had been the prize possession of Riquelme.
Handed the shirt by none other than new manager Diego Maradona, Messi's status as the leading light of the Argentine game was now assured. Even if some still felt he was not performing for the national side.
It may seem a fairly meaningless high in his international career, but there is no doubt that wearing the No. 10 shirt for the first time would have been a source of immense pride for the Barcelona man.

Chris McGrath/Getty Images

2010: Scoreless at World Cup

There is a commonly accepted myth that Messi had a poor tournament at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, largely based upon the fact that he was one of a number of star players who failed to score.
His performances, though, were far from poor and but for a series of inspired saves from Nigerian Vincent Enyeama in the side's first game, he could have kick-started his tournament with several goals to his name.
Installed as the playmaker in Maradona's side, Messi was heavily involved in many of his side's goals in the tournament even if he didn't make the scoresheet himself.
While some sections of the media sought to describe his tournament as a failure, FIFA's judges disagreed and nominated Messi on a 10-player shortlist for the Golden Ball award.

2011: Copa America Failure on Home Soil

Messi's tournament in the 2011 Copa America is also widely remembered as a failure, but mainly due to the abysmal showing of Sergio Batista's side at the event.
The Barcelona player himself, while he didn't score, was Argentina's most lively player on show and contributed several important assists to his side's cause.
Instead, while the likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Carlos Tevez floundered, Messi was criticised in the local media for his non-singing of the Argentine anthem (h/t Mundo Albiceleste).
Argentina were terrible, despite hosting the event, and were quickly knocked out on penalties in the quarter-finals by Uruguay. In truth, there was little Messi could do in a team that was sent out with no clear tactical direction.

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Fox Sports

2011: Named Argentina Captain

With Alejandro Sabella named as the new coach of Argentina following the Copa America debacle, Messi was set for an immediate promotion as he was named the captain of Sabella's national side.
Following the criticism of his commitment and performances at the tournament that summer, it was quite a show of faith from the new man in charge. Messi, though, has thus far rewarded him for his bold decision.
The Albiceleste are a different beast in 2013 to the dreary days of Maradona and Batista. Sabella has the side playing with confidence and structure, rather than the personality-driven free-for-all of the previous regimes. Messi, as is to be expected, is central to the side.
We won't know until the World Cup in 2014 whether Sabella is ultimately judged as a success or not. However, indications thus far suggest he is a vast improvement on his predecessors.

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

2012: First International Hat-Trick Against Switzerland anf second agaiinst Brazil

With 12 goals in nine appearances, 2012 was by far the best calendar year yet as far as Messi's performance at international level is concerned.
Thriving on the responsibility of being made captain and a free role on the right side of the Argentine attack, he has long since quietened the doubters at international level.
Two performances stood out in 2012, as the diminutive forward scored the first two hat-tricks of his international career within the space of just three months.
First, all three goals in a 3-1 away victory over Switzerland broke his duck, before an incredible display in the United States helped Argentina to a 4-3 victory over a Brazil side preparing for the Olympic Games.
As Messi seemingly keeps getting better and better, it will be intriguing to see whether he can help inspire his country to World Cup glory next year as a famous Argentine No. 10 once managed in the past.
Alexis Sanchez would provide an immediate upgrade for Arsenal up front.   
Not often does a club come across the chance to acquire a player who could transform an entire team, but Arsenal may have that chance this summer.
With the impending departure of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona in the next few months, Arsenal must capitalize on this opportunity by acquiring the 24-year-old striker.
Sanchez has been categorized as an "ideal fit" for Arsenal, with his former club's sporting director Fabrizio Larini noting:
Sanchez needs to play the ball on the ground, just like Arsenal. This would be his ideal game.
Sanchez hasn't had much opportunity to showcase his skills at Barcelona, playing behind the best player in the World in Lionel Messi and another World-class striker in David Villa. Indications are that Villa will return to Camp Nou, making Sanchez expendable.
While the competition for Sanchez's services will be intense, the Gunners would be smart to put him at the top of their offseason wish list. The Chilean forward has been a disappointment for Barcelona, but a change of scenery could be what Sanchez needs to finally break out.
Sanchez has proved he can compete with the best, excelling during his time at Udinese and displaying his talent in limited minutes with Barcelona. The past two years in Barcelona have been marred by injuries and a playing style that doesn't quite fit what Sanchez does well.
Barcelona is one of the best possession teams in the World, something Sanchez does not quite fit into well. Steven Bell points out how Barcelona's style of play and Sanchez's don't jibe explaining:
Alexis Sanchez' time with Barcelona has been considered a disappointment by many, but a move to Arsenal could rejuvinate his career.
Alexis Sanchez is now more reliant on using skill and dribbling to beat defenders and get in behind teams. Previously, his frightening pace would have been a key element to racing in behind defences, as Udinese utilized other runners in the team, creating spaces behind and committing defenders to pressing the ball more. This is difficult to do in a team where one player passes the ball more than the whole opposition, and with the aforementioned possession stats.
A move for Sanchez could revitalize his career and make the Gunners a much more dangerous team. Arsenal needs more firepower up front and Sanchez can provide them with that. Not only will Sanchez be a needed boost to a team that has failed to be explosive at times, but they would be getting a 24-year-old set to hit his prime.
Not often does a team get a chance to control such a young and talented player for the best years of his career. Injury issues are a concern, but his sheer talent alone should be enough to quell those worries.
A move for Alexis Sanchez would improve the Gunners not only in the short run, but it will give them a piece to build the future of their team around.